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The University of California Hastings College of the Law (UC Hastings) has organized a major symposium on Japan every year since 2012. This year, we are pleased to organize a symposium on the topic of “Globalization of Japanese Lawyers: Achievements, Challenges, and Expectations to American Law Schools” on Friday, November 18. In March 2016, UC Hastings signed an exchange agreement with the Daini Tokyo Bar Association (Niben). Niben is one of the three bar associations in Tokyo. Niben is the second largest bar association in Japan, and it is also considered the most flexible and progressive bar association in Japan. This symposium commemorates the signing of the exchange agreement, and Niben will participate as a co-sponsor. We are also honored to have the Japan Society of Northern California (JSNC) as another co-sponsor. We have been extremely fortunate to have JSNC as a continuous local supporter of our East Asian Legal Studies (EALS) Program since the EALS Program was established in January 2015.
Traditionally, Japan has been known for its small bar. While the number of practicing attorneys (bengoshi) has more than doubled since 2000, there are only approximately 36,000 practicing attorneys as of 2015, which means that there is about one attorney for every 3,500 people. In contrast, the United States has one lawyer for every 265 people, while Germany and the United Kingdom each has one lawyer for every 400 to 500 people, whereas France has one lawyer for approximately every 1,100 people (Japan Federation of Bar Associations, White Paper on Attorneys 2016). Even Japan’s largest law firms have only 300 to 500 attorneys, as compared to mega law firms in the U.S. and the U.K. which have more than 2,000 lawyers, with the largest law firm having more than 4,000 lawyers. Furthermore, the Japanese Supreme Court’s mandatory apprenticeship for those who have recently passed the national bar examination is still mostly designed to train them for domestic litigation. Thus, components for new attorneys’ transactional and cross-border practices are limited. Yet, as the third largest economy in the world that critically depends on international trade, Japan has a potentially great need for transactional and cross-border legal services. In fact, Tokyo offices of major U.S. and U.K. law firms are expanding. For instance, Morrison Forster’s Tokyo office, has over 120 attorneys on the ground. Similarly, globalization of legal practice can also be discussed in the spheres of public interest lawyering, such as international human rights, international environmental law, legal assistance to developing countries, and the like. The need for globalization of public interest lawyering must also be rising.
Therefore, the following questions should be analyzed: How have Japanese lawyers been coping with this globalizing legal market? How much and in what way have Japanese lawyers been globalized? What are their achievements and what challenges are they facing?
Thus, this symposium will discuss these issues with four exemplary members of Niben as main speakers. The keynote speaker is a pioneer in cross-border legal practice in Japan and a former President of the International Bar Association (IBA). Additionally, there will be one speaker to discuss business lawyering and another to discuss public interest lawyering. The fourth speaker will examine the role of national and local bar associations in facilitating globalization of Japanese lawyers. Furthermore, each speaker is requested to discuss their expectations to American law schools in helping globalization of Japanese lawyers, and discussants are invited from the Japan Society of Northern California and UC Hastings to make comments from their perspectives. We hope that this symposium will facilitate collaboration of Japanese and American lawyers and will provide a forum for networking for American law students with interest in an Asia practice.
Akira Kawamura is a graduate of Kyoto University, 1965, and of Sydney University, LL.M.1979. He was admitted to the Japanese Bar in 1967, and joined the firm of Anderson Mori & Tomotsune (then, Anderson Mori & Rabinowitz). He has an extensive general corporate, business law, international trade, energy and real property law and litigation/arbitration practices. Read more…
Yoshimichi Makiyama is an Attorney-at- Law with KITAMURA & MAKIYAMA in Tokyo, Japan. His practice areas include finance, intellectual property, environment, energy, antitrust, IT/information security/privacy and international corporate transactions. Read more…
Shinichi Sugiyama is a managing partner at Harago & Partners Law offices which is a middle size law firm based in Tokyo with 21 lawyers and 10 secretaries. His expertise is real-estate issues and corporate/labor law matters on behalf of foreign and domestic clients. He also serves as an outside independent director of a listed company in Japan. Read more…
Tatsu Katayama is a partner at Anderson Mori & Tomotsune, whose areas of expertise are international banking, finance and securities matters on behalf of foreign clients. He is individually named by legal periodicals, such as Chambers International and Legal 500 as a leading lawyer in the area of banking and finance and structured finance/securitisation. Read more…
12:30-13:00: Registration and Socializing.
13:00-13:15: Welcome Speeches.
13:15-14:15: Keynote Speech.
14:15-14:30: Break & Group Photo (speakers, discussants & moderators).
14:30-15:30: Panel 1: Globalization of Business Lawyering.
15:30-16:30: Panel 2: Globalization of Public Interest Lawyering.
16:45-17:45: Panel 3: Role of Bar Associations.
17:45-18:00: Closing: Setsuo Miyazawa.